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| | |-+  May 10, 2016 Chiwaukum Traverse
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Author Topic: May 10, 2016 Chiwaukum Traverse  (Read 1707 times)

Posts: 98

May 10, 2016 Chiwaukum Traverse
« on: 05/13/16, 01:21 PM »

I spent Tuesday in the Chiwaukums and found a high snow line, but great corn going south to north.  The Chatter Creek trail is almost completely snow free until the climb out of the upper basin, and with a little care you can keep your feet dry all the way up.  I found enough continuous snow to swap to ski boots at 6000 ft, and then had to walk through alternating snow/scree for another 100' of vert until I could swap over to skis.  From that point on the route was in really good condition, and, for the first time ever, I managed to ski a full spring day in the Cascades without making a single turn in schmoo.  Not one  Grin 

To make up for the lack of schmoo I made a rookie route finding error after descending the top of the swath and got to enjoy a full on brush-enema on the way down to the logging road that culminated with a pitch of down-climbing that I would rate at 5.3 A2+, but my grading may be off as I am inexperienced in grading aid routes that involve rotten roots used in place of bashies.  I only wish I had swung my ice axe into the duff at the crux so I could add a Scottish mixed grade to my resume...

Key Beta:
As I found it the traverse requires:
 ~3400 ft of hiking on the chatter creek trail
~5000 ft of gain, ~6000 ft of loss, and ~10.7 miles on skis
~770 ft of shenanigans to get from the end of the good skiing on the swath (@~5000ft) to the upper junction of the swath and the logging road (4200ft).  I wouldn't try descending these 770 ft in the woods to the west of the swath.  Instead, I would consider the east side of the swath.  I know I should have....
~1800 foot of descending the logging road from the swath.  The logging road is almost completely melted out, so the brush is now only annoying, but no longer really-really annoying.

It looks like the crux (baring bush whacking mishaps) will continue to be crossing the ridge running east from point 7955.  The route described in Volken (summit of snowgrass-northbowl-back to east side of Big C. ridge) looked melted out so I took a chute up and over 7955 east ridge a little east of 7955, and a little west of tracks following the line described in Lowell's TR.  My route didn't involve any scrambling (plus), but did require descending a very icy, north facing chute that was pretty steep (plus or minus, depending on your disposition), and about 170cm wide at the choke.  Coming from the north, the descent off the line I took would be pretty easy and fun.

Also, its worth noting that the ridge between points 7423 and 6935 is melting fast, I had a loose scramble over the top.

Pics are attached below, south to north: The first half of the route from above chatter basin, Looking north from cape horn, looking south from 7955


* IMG_20160510_095855097-800x450.jpg (93.41 KB, 800x450 - viewed 531 times.)

* IMG_20160510_103327460-800x450.jpg (78.92 KB, 800x450 - viewed 530 times.)

* IMG_20160510_122044387-800x450.jpg (68.24 KB, 800x450 - viewed 528 times.)
« Last Edit: 05/13/16, 01:31 PM by arb » Logged

Posts: 98

Re: May 10, 2016 Chiwaukum Traverse
« Reply #1 on: 05/13/16, 01:23 PM »

Looking North from the ridge east of 7955

* IMG_20160510_122124413-800x450.jpg (88.33 KB, 800x450 - viewed 526 times.)

Posts: 98

Re: May 10, 2016 Chiwaukum Traverse
« Reply #2 on: 05/13/16, 01:25 PM »

The north side of the ridge east of 7955 showing the three obvious (to me) snowy routes off the ridge on the north side.  I believe the route described in Lowell's TR is the large snow basin on lookers left of the photo, I descended the chute in the middle, and the chute to lookers right might be a nice option.

* IMG_20160510_124132623-800x450.jpg (62.58 KB, 800x450 - viewed 527 times.)

* IMG_20160510_124142330-450x800.jpg (53.62 KB, 450x800 - viewed 527 times.)

Posts: 98

Re: May 10, 2016 Chiwaukum Traverse
« Reply #3 on: 05/13/16, 01:30 PM »

Scenery from the north half

* IMG_20160510_132040262_HDR-450x800.jpg (61.8 KB, 450x800 - viewed 534 times.)

* IMG_20160510_132316041-450x800.jpg (49.93 KB, 450x800 - viewed 519 times.)

* IMG_20160510_150651876-800x450.jpg (67.05 KB, 800x450 - viewed 524 times.)

Posts: 2074

Re: May 10, 2016 Chiwaukum Traverse
« Reply #4 on: 05/14/16, 11:46 AM »

Nice to know about those chutes just east of Point 7955. I never considered those.

It seems that you cannot judge the terrain in this area very well from the USGS topo maps. You need to look at photos.

I think I'd want a good pair of crampons to climb or descend the Point 7955 gullies on foot--better than the short fingered Drumpf crampons I had on my trip.
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